Comparing Humoral and Cellular Immune Response Against HBV Vaccine in Kidney Transplant Patients

Friedrich et al., Am J Transplant. (2015) - PMID: 26137874

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Host protection upon vaccination usually results from the complex interplay of humoral and cellular components of the immune system. Exploring hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg)-specific T cell responses and their correlation with humoral responses under immunosuppression, we analyzed 51 renal transplant recipients, differing in HBV vaccine-specific antibody titers (non [NRs]-, low [LRs]-, and high responders [HRs]) and in 22 healthy controls (HCs) in a cross-sectional study. HBsAg-specific T cells were analyzed by flow cytometry according to expression of activation markers CD40L and/or CD69, and the cytokines IFNγ, IL-2, TNFα, and IL-17. No significant differences in responder rate and magnitude of HBsAg-specific T cell responses were found between HCs and HRs. Interestingly, HBsAg-specific Th-cells were also observed in 50% of humoral NRs. Frequencies of HBsAg-specific CD40L+ Th-cells were significantly higher in HRs compared to LRs (p = 0.009) and in LRs in comparison to NRs (p = 0.043). All but NRs showed a predominance of multi-potent HBsAg-specific TNFα+IL-2+ Th-cells. As expected, HBsAg-specific CD8(+) T cells were rarely found. In conclusion, mounting of hepatitis B vaccine-specific T cell responses is possible in kidney transplant recipients despite immunosuppression. Detection of HBV-specific Th-cells in a significant proportion of humoral NRs contributes to the current discussion on conferring immune protection by cellular memory in such patients.

© Copyright 2015 The American Society of Transplantation and the American Society of Transplant Surgeons.


Basic (laboratory) research/science; T cell biology; flow cytometry; immunobiology; immunosuppressant; infection and infectious agents; kidney transplantation/nephrology; vaccine; viral: hepatitis B

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